The world’s largest pictorial carpet


Well, if you are going to have something big on your wall, you might as well make it interesting.

Read about the world’s largest pictorial carpet.

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The last of the Festival of Quilts 2019

This is my final selection of pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. These are the ones that didn’t group together nicely with any of the others.

For example, this one on the left, which uses a simple design to show off a collection of printed fabrics.

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A scissor holder

A while ago, I saw a display on a stall selling kits to make scissor pouches and “keepers” for embroidery scissors. You know, the sort that is permanently fixed to the handle of the scissors, so it is always handy.

It is a really difficult to display small items in a crowded space. You need some way of lifting them up from the surface of the table so people see them as they approach the stall, making them more likely to stop and look. This stall holder had a collection of old bobbins of different heights, grouped together, with the scissorsĀ  pushed into the top, and the beautifully embroidered case hanging down, high enough to catch the eye of the passer by. Brilliant, and so simple.

I love old textile kit, but I have never bought and old reels and bobbins. They are lovely, but what do you do with them? I’m reminded of my friend, who used to say as we walked to work past gift shops in York “Huh. Dust catchers!”

But now I know better. So I started keeping a look out. The first one I found was on the short side, so long scissors go right through the hole and might scratch the table. Felt seems the obvious solution. Too thin? Yes, the scissors could easily get pushed through that. So I planned to stick a piece of firm vilene, canvas or something similarly tough on first.

While I was rummaging, I found an offcut of a cork tile. Much better. I drew on a circle a bit smaller than reel, stuck it on with PVA glue, weighted down while it dried.

Job done.

So now, I am gradually working through the house. Every room needs a pin cushion, a bits bowl, and a pencil pot. And now a scissor holder. So far, just the living room and the studio are equipped…

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Hexagons at the Festival of Quilts 2019

My very first experience of patchwork was with hexagons. I must have been about 6 or 7, and I made it with offcuts from my rag doll’s dresses. I still have the dresses, and Beth still watches over my desk in one of them.

But after about 40 years, the cushion was past mending. It had a lot of wear. It classic flower design seemed very grown up.

But these pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, really show what can be done with a hexagon.

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Sewing in a zip can be a bit of a pain. I tend to avoid it when I can, because of the hassle of remembering to buy the right length. And often they don’t sell the colour I want.

But sometimes there isn’t a way round it. For those times, this post on three easy ways to sew a zip is useful.

And while we are on the subject of zips, here is a post about invisible zips.

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Compass quilts at the Festival of Quilts 2019

I love a good compass block. And here are some absolute corkers from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

How they keep track of all those tiny pieces of fabric beats me. When I made a quilt of sample blocks, I included a compass. It was intended to have each piece cut from a different fabric. The experience of that one twelve inch block has never been repeated. And given the size of the “quilts to do list,” I don’t think it ever will be.

But it does mean that I have proper respect for the makers of these quilts:

And one that needs its own collage, so you can see the details:

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Custom fitting your sewing patterns

Today, I’ve got a collection of posts about dressmaking with a commercial pattern to share:

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Flowers and trees at the Festival of Quilts 2019

If you have ever tried to draw a tree properly, you will know that it is harder than it looks. Somehow, drawing the shapes you see doesn’t always lead to a credible tree picture. Which makes translating it into fabric even more impressive.

Flowers, being smaller, can be easier, but it can be difficult to maintain realism while simplifying the shapes into fabric.

Here are my tree and flower pictures from the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. My favourite is the tree with multi coloured bark, almost like flames laping up its trunk, with branches that are remeniscent of a maypole in full operation.

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My new sewing room friend

About a year ago, I made a doll who sits by the sewing machine and holds bits and bobs. I’ve been really pleased. She is a good worker.

But there is a problem. Gradually, all the pins are moving into the sewing room. I sit somewhere else to get myself organised, then I go into the sewing room, and put the pins in the doll’s pincushion when I take them out of the fabric.

So I needed to recruit another one so they can job share. The plan is that when the doll in the living room runs out of pins, I can swap her with the sewing room doll, who will have accumulated loads of pins.

I’ve had an old book for a long time abut the different ways children can make figures out of scraps. One idea in that book is to get a large bead, or a small ball, and glue it onto the top of a milk bottle. You then draw a face on the bead and make clothes out of paper. And you make hair by sticking knitting wool on the bead. This is all very well, but it reminds me of the time Blue Peter encouraged us to make a Dougal from an old washing up liquid bottle. Draw a face round the nozzle (nose), and stick knitting wool over the top and down the sides of the body. Except ours didn’t stick down the sides of the bottle. That was the end of Blue Peter makes for us. Anyway…

I’ve developed that idea, by using a wine bottle as a base, and adding a head and arms made of fabric. I’ve used some jelly roll strips that I’ve had in my stash for a while. I’m really pleased with the result.

I decided to write down what I did as I worked, so I’ve put the pattern on my Etsy shop.



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India Flint at the Festival of Quilts 2019

India Flint is a pioneer of eco printing. Here are some pictures of her exhibit at the Festival of Quilts 2019 at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham:

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